For the next few sentences, I feel like I could use “we”, but I will use “I”, so you can hear how personally I take this. So often, I am not here. I check my cell phone for missed texts, I watch a movie while checking my email, I teach students while making grocery lists in my head.
What for? Why do I spend my life divided in two places and never really anywhere at all? I am used to it, but it is not comfortable. This method of living fits as well as an itchy uniform. The few times I take an intentional moment to be present, to look the person in the eye as I’m talking to them, to think about what they have to say and not what I will say next, to pay attention-to the road, the weather, a book-suddenly I remember why I am alive. If this truly was your last moment, would you rather spend it distracted?
What frightens me most is when I realize how quality suffers with this habit. The things that feel most organic, natural-yoga, reading, talking, painting, kissing-these things take time and intentionality. They may not even feel natural at first, if my brain is in a wound-up, commercial-like state. It takes time and practice to become intentional.
My students blossom with the individual attention. Have you noticed how good it feels when someone waits for you? Plants grow taller with someone who attends to them. True love is made from commitment, presence, attention. Simply “being there” is often what it takes and often the most difficult to accomplish. We can be distracted or we can be absent, but the ultimate loss is the same.
So the call to myself, and if this speaks to your heart, to you: be present. Take a minute to see if you are doing only one thing now, if you are here. If you are not, then change it. You will breathe more deeply, rest more easily, love more strongly. Things about you will rise up like a harvest. Tending to growing things is slow, but it is real, and it is now. This is not scientific research, it’s simply a feeling I have. Please, if you disagree, then prove me wrong.